STANDARDS PROGRAM For Canada s Charities & Nonprofits

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1 STANDARDS PROGRAM For Canada s Charities & Nonprofits Released April 2012 Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides SickKids Foundation World Vision Enhancing governance and effectiveness Founding and presenting sponsor: Funded by: Supporters: Friends: KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.)

2 Contents Introduction... i Accreditation Process... 1 Section A: Board Governance... 3 Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency... 6 Section C: Fundraising... 8 Section D: Staff Management Section E: Volunteer Involvement Introduction Imagine Canada s Standards Program offers a Canada-wide set of shared standards for charities and nonprofits designed to strengthen their capacity in five fundamental areas: A. board governance B. financial accountability & transparency C. fundraising D. staff management E. volunteer involvement The Standards Program is first and foremost a capacity-building initiative. Any organization may use these standards to improve and monitor its practices. Information about how to comply with the standards, as well as tools and resources to help organizations continue to strengthen their practices, is available free of charge. Organizations wishing to demonstrate publicly that they meet the standards can participate in a voluntary peer-review-based accreditation process. Daily Bread Food Bank Vancouver Foundation Frontier College Page i INTRODUCTION

3 Accreditation Process 1. Review the Standards & Evidence for Your Level This handbook lists all 73 standards along with a summary of the evidence you are required to submit if you wish to be considered for accreditation. Review the standards and evidence to ensure you understand the requirements of the Program. To be accredited, organizations must be able to demonstrate compliance with all standards for their level (see Table 1 to determine your level). Discuss the Standards Program with your board and review your policies and practices to determine if you are ready to join. Table 1: Levels Standards Level Size of Organization Level 1 Organizations with up to 5 FTE employees and up to $2 million in annual expenses. 1 Level 2 Organizations with up to 50 FTE employees and up to $10 million in annual expenses. 2 Level 3 Organizations with more than 50 FTE employees or over $10 million in annual expenses. 1 Organizations with no staff are exempt from standards relating to staff management. 2 Excluding organizations that meet the criteria for Level 1. Annual Expenses: Use your average expenses, including gifts to qualified donees, over the last 3 years. Charities should use the amount on line 5100 of their Registered Charity Information Return (T3010). Employee: All paid staff of the organization whether full-time, part-time, fixed-term contract, salaried or hourly. FTE: Full-time equivalent. Use your average FTE employees over the last 3 years. The definition of full-time employment can vary from one organization to another but is generally defined as between 35 and 40 hours of work per week, 52 weeks per year. 2. Submit the Participation Agreement & Application Fee Organizations interested in pursuing accreditation must complete the Participation Agreement and pay the appropriate application fee. Fees are based on your organization s average annual expenses over the last three years (see Table 2). Charities can find their annual expenses on line 5100 of their Registered Charity Information Return (T3010). Accreditation Process STANDARDS Page 1 of 13

4 Accreditation Process continued Table 2: Standards Program Fees Size of Organization based on annual expenses Application Fee paid upon submission of Participation Agreement License Fees paid annually in years 1-5 of accreditation Less than $250,000 $200 $200 $250,000 - $1 million $300 $300 $1-2 million $500 $500 $2-5 million $1,000 $1,000 $5-10 million $2,000 $2,000 $10-25 million $3,000 $3,000 More than $25 million $4,000 $4, Application Preparation Once the Participation Agreement and Application Fee have been submitted, you will be given access to our Online Application Platform and can begin entering the required information. Additional information and training on the application process, standards and evidence will also be made available to you. 4. Application Submission & Peer Review Process Submission deadlines for the application are posted on Imagine Canada s website. All applications received by a given deadline will be reviewed by Program staff to ensure they are complete. Completed applications will then be sent to the Peer Review Panel, which will determine if the applicant is accredited or if further work is required for the organization to come into compliance with all standards. In the latter case, organizations may simply be required to answer a few questions or submit a few additional documents, or they may be requested to revise and resubmit their application in time for a second peer review. 5. Compliance & Renewal Organizations are accredited for five-years. Once accredited, a licence agreement must be signed to access the Program Trustmark. An annual compliance report and licence fee (see table 1) must be submitted to maintain accreditation. Compliance is monitored through investigation of complaints and annual onsite audits/spot checks of 3-5% of accredited organizations. Page 2 of 13 STANDARDS Accreditation Process

5 Section A: Board Governance Board Leadership A1. The organization has a mission statement that is approved and revisited by the board at least every five years to assess its continuing relevance. Process board uses to review mission statement Date board last reviewed mission statement A2. The board ensures a strategic plan is in place. Organization s strategic plan A3. The board is accountable for the recruitment and orientation of the most senior staff person in the organization. The board is responsible for approving a strategic plan and has a process in place to evaluate progress in achieving the plan s priorities. Organization s strategic plan Motion from board meeting at which strategic plan was approved Process board uses to evaluate progress in achieving plan s priorities Board Oversight The board is accountable for the recruitment and orientation of the most senior staff person in the organization. The recruitment process is fair and transparent, and managed in a professional manner by the board. The board is accountable to ensure that the most senior staff person receives the appropriate orientation required to assume his/her responsibilities. Process board uses for recruiting and orienting most senior staff person A4. The most senior staff person reports to the board and has a written job description or terms of reference. Most senior staff person s job description or terms of reference The most senior staff person reports to the board, has a detailed job description or terms of reference, annual performance objectives and an annual performance review. Most senior staff person s job description or terms of reference Most senior staff person s current performance objectives Date of most recent performance review A5. The total compensation package of the most senior staff person is approved by the board or a board committee and expenses are reviewed at least annually by a member(s) of the board. Motion from board or committee meeting at which total compensation package for most senior staff person was approved Date of most recent review of expenses A6. Not applicable The board annually discusses the succession plan for the most senior staff position in the organization. Date board last discussed succession plan for most senior staff position A7. The organization has a process to identify its major strategic and operational risks and a plan to minimize and mitigate these risks. The plan is reviewed annually by the board. Process used to identify major strategic and operational risks Process used to identify major strategic and operational risks Plan to mitigate and minimize risks Date plan last reviewed by board Section A: Board Governance STANDARDS Page 3 of 13

6 Section A: Board Governance Board Oversight continued A8. The organization has a process to review its insurance coverages. A summary report is reviewed annually by the board. Date board last reviewed summary report on insurance coverages A9. The board or a board committee oversees the organization s compliance with its own governing documents (e.g., letters patent, by-laws) and all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations. Organizations conducting programs outside Canada will also abide by applicable laws, regulations and conventions in that jurisdiction, unless these are in conflict with laws in Canada. Process board uses to oversee the organization s compliance with its own governing documents and all applicable laws and regulations Governance Policies & Processes A10. The organization identifies its stakeholders and ensures there is a strategy for regular and effective communication and consultation with them about the organization s achievements and work. Strategies and practices used to communicate and consult with stakeholders A11. Not applicable The organization has codes of ethics/conduct that apply to directors, staff and volunteers. Codes of ethics/conduct Process used to ensure board, staff and volunteers are familiar with and adhere to code A12. The organization has conflict of interest policies for board, staff, and volunteers that provide for disclosure, review and decision on actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Conflict of interest policies for board, staff, and volunteers Process used to ensure board, staff and volunteers are familiar with and adhere to conflict of interest policy A13. The organization has a privacy policy that is posted in a readily accessible location on its website. Privacy policy Website address where privacy policy can be accessed A14. The organization responds promptly to complaints by external stakeholders. The organization informs the board at least annually of the number, type and disposition of complaints received. The organization has a complaints policy applicable to external stakeholders that is posted in a readily accessible location on its website. The organization responds promptly to complaints by external stakeholders. The organization informs the board at least annually of the number, type and disposition of complaints received. Most recent report to board on complaints OR excerpt from minutes of meeting at which report was delivered verbally Complaints policy Website address where complaints policy can be accessed Most recent report to board on complaints OR excerpt from minutes of meeting at which report was delivered verbally Page 4 of 13 STANDARDS Section A: Board Governance

7 Section A: Board Governance Governance Policies & Processes continued A15. Not applicable The organization has established and implemented policies and procedures that enable individuals to come forward with information on illegal practices or violations of organizational policies. This whistleblower policy must specify that the organization will not retaliate against, and will protect the confidentially of, individuals who make good-faith reports. Whistleblower policy and procedures A16. The board holds a sufficient number of meetings annually to ensure appropriate direction and oversight of the organization s activities. At minimum, the board should hold two meetings per year at which the agenda is not restricted to a specific issue or issues (e.g., appointment of officers). Copies of two board meeting agendas from last 12 months A17. The board has written terms of reference. The board has written terms of reference outlining how it will review, approve, and monitor the mission/strategic direction, annual budget and key financial transactions, compensation practices and policies, and fiscal and governance policies. Copy of the overall board terms of reference as well as any relevant committee terms of reference A18. The board is comprised of no less than 3 (but preferably 5 or more) directors, a majority of whom must be at arm s length to each other, to the most senior staff person and/or other management staff. No employee may be a director. A19. No member of the board is entitled to receive, either directly or indirectly, any salary, wages, fees, commissions or other amount for services rendered to the organization in their capacity as a director. Evidence organization is meeting this standard (e.g., policy on compensation of board members, excerpt from by-laws, etc.) A20. A process is in place to ensure orientation of new board members. Board members must understand their legal and fiduciary responsibilities, exercise due diligence consistent with their duty of care, be familiar with the organization s activities and fully informed of the financial status of the organization. Process used to orient new board members and summary of orientation content A21. Proper minutes of board meetings and record of policies are kept. One example of board minutes from the last 12 months Description of how policies are recorded and retained A22. The board has a process to annually review plans for succession to the positions of board chair and committee chairs. Process board uses to annually review plans for succession to positions of board chair and committee chairs Section A: Board Governance STANDARDS Page 5 of 13

8 Section A: Board Governance Governance Policies & Processes continued A23. Not applicable The board has a process to annually consider development opportunities for potential board chairs and committee chairs. Process board uses to annually consider development opportunities for potential board chairs and committee chairs A24. Not applicable The board has a process to annually review its performance. Process board uses to review its performance including date of most recent review The board has a process to annually review the performance of individual directors and the board as a whole. Process board uses to review the performance of individual directors and the board as a whole including date of most recent review Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency Financial Accountability B1. Organizations must complete annual financial statements in accordance with an acceptable accounting framework as identified by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). B2. Organizations with over $1 million in annual revenue must have their financial statements audited by an independent licensed public accountant. Other organizations may have a review engagement unless required by their governing legislation to have an audit. B3. The organization s financial statements must be received and approved by the board and released within 6 months of year end. Most recent annual financial statements including audit or review engagement report Motion from board meeting where financial statements were approved including date of meeting B4. CHARITIES: The board has a process to ensure that an accurate Registered Charity Information Return (T3010) is filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) within six months of year-end, as required by law. Public portions of most recent T3010 including date it was filed with CRA Process board uses to ensure timely and accurate submission of the T3010 NONPROFITS: The board has a process to ensure that an accurate Corporate Income Tax Return (T2) is filed with the CRA within six months of year end, as required by law. Most recent Corporate Income Tax Return (T2) including date it was filed with CRA Process board uses to ensure timely and accurate submission of the T2 Page 6 of 13 STANDARDS Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency

9 Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency Financial Accountability continued B5. The board approves the annual budget and has a process to monitor the organization s performance in relation to the annual budget. The board or a board committee reviews actual revenues and expenses versus budget at least twice a year. Process board uses to monitor performance in relation to annual budget Motion from board meeting at which annual budget was approved including date of meeting Last two dates on which the board or a board committee reviewed actual revenues and expenses versus budget B6. The board or a board committee receives from management, at least twice a year, assurance that all statutory remittances have been made. Last two dates on which the board or a board committee received assurance that all statutory remittances have been made B7. The board regularly reviews the cost-effectiveness of the organization s fundraising activities. No more will be spent on administration and fundraising than is required to ensure effective management and resource development. Date board last reviewed costeffectiveness of fundraising activities Process board uses to review cost-effectiveness of fundraising activities including the date of review B8. Organizations with investable assets over $100,000 must have an investment policy setting out asset allocation, procedures for investments, and asset protection issues. Investment policy B9. When the organization collects money (donations or sales) online its practices should be consistent with or exceed the provisions of the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce. Confirmation the organization s practices or those of third-party providers are consistent with the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce B10. The organization s financial statements are publicly available. Transparency The organization makes the following information available on its website: their most recent three years of annual reports; their most recent three years of financial statements including notes as approved by the board and the opinion of the independent licensed public accountant who conducted the audit or review engagement; and the names of all board members. In addition to the above, charities must make the following information available on their website: their registration number (BN) assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); and the public portion of their most recent Registered Charity Information Return (form T3010) as submitted to CRA or a direct link to it. Description of how organization makes its financial statements publicly available Links to required information on organization s website Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency STANDARDS Page 7 of 13

10 Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency Transparency continued B11. The organization makes information on compensation accessible to its stakeholders to at least the same level as that required by CRA in the T3010. Description of how organization makes makes this information available or a link to it B12. The organization discloses in its financial statements details of the purpose and amount of any payment for products or services to board members or companies in which a board member is an owner, partner or senior manager. Copy of disclosure statement B13. The organization accurately discloses all costs associated with its fundraising activities. Section C: Fundraising 1 Donors Relations C1. The organization honours donors and prospective donors requests to: limit the frequency of contact; not be contacted by telephone or other technology; receive printed material concerning the organization; and discontinue contact. Policy on donor requests C2. The organization does not sell its donor list. If it rents, exchanges or otherwise shares its donor list, it must abide by the Canadian Marketing Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and honour donors requests to be excluded from such lists. Policy on donor lists C3. Donors requests to remain anonymous are honoured. Policy on donor anonymity C4. The organization encourages donors to seek independent advice if the proposed gift is a Planned Gift and/or the organization has any reason to believe the proposed gift might significantly affect the donor s financial position, taxable income, or relationship with other family members. Policy on independent advice 1 Standards relating to fundraising are adapted from Imagine Canada s Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code. These Standards for organizations complement the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethics for individual fundraisers. Page 8 of 13 STANDARDS Section C: Fundraising

11 Section C: Fundraising Donors Relations continued C5. CHARITIES: The organization prepares and issues Official Income Tax receipts for monetary gifts and gifts-in-kind in compliance with all regulatory requirements. Void Official Income Tax receipt NONPROFITS: The organization makes it clear to all potential donors that it cannot issue Official Income Tax receipts. Fundraising Practices C6. All fundraising activities conducted by or on behalf of the organization must: be truthful, accurately describe the organization s activities, disclose the organization s name, disclose the purpose for which funds are requested, disclose the organization s policy with respect to issuing Official Income Tax receipts including any policy on minimum amounts for which a receipt will be issued; and, disclose, upon request, whether the individual or entity seeking donations is a volunteer, employee or contracted third party. Policy on fundraising activities C7. The organization does not make claims that cannot be upheld or are misleading. C8. The organization does not exploit its beneficiaries. It is sensitive in describing those it serves (whether using graphics, images or text) and fairly represent their needs and how these needs will be addressed. C9. Any fundraising materials distributed by or on behalf of the organization must include its address or other contact information. Examples of fundraising materials C10. The organization does not, directly or indirectly, pay finder s fees, commissions or percentage compensation based on contributions. Policy on payment of fundraisers C11. Anyone seeking or receiving funds, on behalf of the organization, whether a volunteer, employee or contracted third party must: act with fairness, integrity, and in accordance with all applicable laws; cease contacting a prospective donor who states that he/she does not wish to be contacted; disclose immediately to the organization any actual or apparent conflict of interest or loyalty; and not accept donations for purposes that are inconsistent with the organization s mission. Description of steps taken to ensure individuals who seek or receive funds on your behalf adhere to this standard Section C: Fundraising STANDARDS Page 9 of 13

12 Section C: Fundraising Fundraising Practices continued C12. The organization has appropriate fundraising policies (e.g., a gift acceptance policy, a policy on the treatment of restricted or designated gifts, and naming and endowment policies). The relevance and appropriateness of these policies are reviewed every three years by the board. Copies of applicable policies Date board last reviewed relevance and appropriateness of organization s fundraising policies The organization has a gift acceptance policy, a policy on the treatment of restricted or designated gifts, and naming and endowment policies. The relevance and appropriateness of these policies are reviewed every three years by the board. Gift acceptance policy, policy on treatment of restricted or designated gifts, naming and endowment policies Date board last reviewed relevance and appropriateness of organization s fundraising policies C13. Organizations that conduct face-to-face fundraising (e.g., door-to-door campaigns, street-side fundraising, workplace campaigns) must: provide verification of the affiliation of the person representing the organization; and, secure and safeguard any confidential information, including credit card information, provided by donors. Description of how organization ensures this standard is met C14. Where the organization has formally entered into a cause-related marketing agreement with a third-party, it must disclose in all related materials it produces, how the organization benefits from the sale of products or services and the minimum or maximum amounts payable under the arrangement. If no minimum amount is payable, the organization should disclose this. Example of disclosure provided Section D: Staff Management 2 Policies & Other Documentation D1. The organization has written HR management policies that comply, at minimum, with employment, health and safety and other applicable legislation. Table of contents from HR management policy manual or list of HR policies D2. HR management policies are accessible to all employees. Description of how HR management policies are made accessible to employees 2 Standards relating to staff management are adapted from those developed by the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector. Page 10 of 13 STANDARDS Section D: Staff Management

13 Section D: Staff Management Policies & Other Documentation continued D3. HR management policies are reviewed at least every two years and revised, if necessary. Description of process for reviewing and revising HR management policies and date of last review HR management policies are reviewed annually and revised, if necessary. D4. Not applicable The organization has a compensation structure that fairly evaluates and compensates the value of each position. Description of compensation structure and explanation of how value of positions is evaluated D5. Not applicable All employees have written job descriptions. One example of a job description currently in use Recruitment, Orientation & Training Two examples of job descriptions currently in use one for a management position and one for a non-management position D6. Employees are recruited and selected through an objective, consistent process that complies, at minimum, with human rights legislation. Description of process used to recruit and select most recent hire D7. All individuals external to the organization who are offered a position are given a letter of employment that outlines the terms of employment. Copy of recent letter of employment D8. All employees who are new to the organization or their position are provided with appropriate orientation and training. Description of process used to orient and train new employees Performance Management & Staff Development D9. All employees have a work plan or performance objectives that identify their tasks/activities and the expected result. One example of a current work plan or performance objectives Two examples of current work plans or performance objectives one for a management position and one for a non-management position D10. The performance of each employee is assessed at least annually. Performance review template OR description of how performance is assessed Performance review template Section D: Staff Management STANDARDS Page 11 of 13

14 Section D: Staff Management Performance Management & Staff Development continued D11. Not applicable The development needs of all fulltime employees are reviewed at least annually and plans are established to address any gaps. The development needs of all fulltime employees are reviewed at least annually and plans are established to address any gaps. Staff with responsibility for managing others are provided with opportunities to develop their supervisory skills. One example of an employee development opportunity offered in the last year Two examples of employee development opportunities offered in the last year - one for a nonsupervisory position and one for a supervisory position D12. Not applicable Critical positions in the organization are identified and succession plans are established to address any potential gaps. Description of how organization identifies critical positions and plans for the possible departure of staff in these positions D13. Not applicable The organization has a formal process to manage workplace conflicts. Process the organization uses to manage workplace conflicts Section E: Volunteer Involvement 2 E1. The organization has policies and procedures in place that define and support the involvement of volunteers. Policies and procedures relating to volunteer involvement E2. The organization has at least one individual who is responsible for volunteer involvement. Title of individual responsible for volunteer involvement The organization has one or more clearly designated individuals (volunteer or paid staff) with appropriate experience, skills, or qualifications who is responsible for volunteer involvement. Title of individual(s) responsible for volunteer involvement Description of his/her/their experience, skills, or qualifications E3. Volunteer assignments relate to the mission or purpose of the organization and involve volunteers in meaningful ways that reflect their abilities, needs, and backgrounds. Description of two volunteer assignments and explanation of how they relate to the organization s mission or purpose 2 Standards relating to volunteer involvement are adapted from those developed by Volunteer Canada. Page 12 of 13 STANDARDS Section E: Volunteer Involvement

15 Section E: Volunteer Involvement E4. Not applicable. Volunteer recruitment incorporates internal and external strategies to reach out to and involve a diverse volunteer base. E5. The organization has appropriate screening processes for volunteers. Process used to recruit volunteers to serve on boards and committees Process used to recruit volunteers to deliver programs and services Process used to screen or select volunteers to serve on boards and committees Process used to screen or select volunteers to deliver programs and services E6. Volunteers are provided with appropriate orientation to the organization and its policies and practices, and receive training appropriate to their roles and needs. Description of orientation and training provided to new volunteers E7. All volunteers are given regular opportunities to offer and receive feedback. Volunteers who are engaged in delivering programs or services receive a level of supervision appropriate to their role. Description of feedback mechanisms used with volunteers Explanation of how volunteers who deliver programs or services are supervised E8. The contributions of volunteers are acknowledged and recognized. Description of how contributions of volunteers are acknowledged and recognized E9. Not applicable. The impact and contributions of volunteers and the volunteer program are regularly evaluated. Description of how the contributions and impact of volunteers and the volunteer program are evaluated Plan Canada Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton Section E: Volunteer Involvement STANDARDS Page 13 of 13

16 Tides Canada ABOUT IMAGINE CANADA Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada s charities and nonprofits. We strengthen the sector s collective voice, act as a forum and meeting place and create an enabling environment in which organizations contribute to building stronger communities. FOR MORE INFORMATION visit our website: call: (416) , ext TORONTO 2 Carlton Street, Suite 600 Toronto, ON M5B 1J3 Phone: x 228 Toll-Free: Fax: OTTAWA 130 Albert Street, Suite 1705 Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4 Phone: Toll-Free: Fax:

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